Today, Saturday March 18, 2017, at 3:27 PM marks an important, historical, monumental moment in my life: my first time at In-N-Out.
We pulled up at the nearest In-N-Out and, despite it being a very ambivalent time, we were unable to find parking spaces. The joint had a white exterior and resembled a church with the restaurant itself mirroring a religious cult with the long line of people waiting to meet the well-respected leader. The line moved quickly and the only conversion stemming from it seemed to pertain the the menu items of burgers, fries, and drinks.
“Yeah, get the animal style.”
“I’m more into the Napoleon shake today.”
“Maybe I’ll be healthy and get the grilled cheese.”
Each time I got closer to the register, I got more and more excited. I had planned out my order for a long time: animal style cheeseburger and fries. It was finally my time to order and I could not hold back, “Hi! It’s my first time here, and I’d like Animal Style Cheeseburger and fries.”
The cashier, a young teen around 17 at most, seemed just as enthusiastic and said, “You’ll love it! Thanks for coming!” as he handed me my receipt, a paper hat, and stickers. I don on my In-N-Out crown and patiently wait my turn.
Number 99, 12, 14, 19, 21…My number was 16, and it was high time they called me. Finally, they announced my food. I grab it and quickly run to the car. I am often known for my impatience, particularly when it comes to food, and take a small bite.
There is a definitely a quality difference in these burgers compared to other fast-food chains. McDonald’s definitely has nothing on this. The lettuce was not a flimsy piece of green paper, the tomatoes were big and juicy, and the meat, although a bit thin, tasted like real meat.
My friend Anisha says that her first meal coming from the airport from college is always the grilled cheese at In-N-Out. To her, it’s more the comfort of the meal and the atmosphere rather than the taste. I think for me, it’d be a mix of both. The taste is impeccable, but the restaurant itself seems to carry a lot of family-and-friends-and-community-oriented visions. Offering a “healthier” version of fast food is beneficial for those parents who carefully monitor what their kids eat, but maintaining the same diner feel and menu provides a friendly and old-timey vibe. With the burger and fries themselves were great in fast-food standards, I can see why it’s so popular. It is one of the few restaurants that have lived up to its hype.